For the past month, the federal government has been in the midst of a partial government shutdown, set in motion by Trump’s demands for funding for a border wall. As a result, thousands of federal employees are going without pay. And many politicians have been shockingly cavalier about the situation—including Trump himself, who recently seemed to suggest that banks and grocery stores are providing assistance to those affected by the shutdown.
In a January 24th press briefing, a reporter asked the president about comments that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made on CNBC that same day. Ross claimed he didn’t “quite understand” why some federal workers were going to shelters for food when they could take out loans. In response, Trump said that he didn’t see Ross’s full remarks, but attempted to clarify them anyway, saying that banks and grocery stores would “work along” with furloughed workers.
This begs the question: What reality is Donald Trump living in? The average grocery store chain does not, in fact, personally “know the people” who shop at their stores nor is there any realistic way that they can “work along” with customers who are unable to pay. And as The New York Times reports, several banks are offering low or no-interest loans to affected workers, but many financial institutions don’t offer personal loans at all. And if federal workers take out a loan, they have to worry about paying it back. As CNN notes, Trump has signed a bill guaranteeing that those affected by the shutdown will receive their pay retroactively, but at this point, it’s not clear when this will happen.
According to CNBC, the current shutdown, which has lasted 34 days, is the longest shutdown in American history. More than 800,000 workers are affected. Yesterday, January 24th, the Senate voted down two different bills to fund the government.
At this point, we need politicians to “work along” with each other and reopen the government.
Update: The federal government reached a deal on January 25th to temporarily reopen the government for three weeks while negotiations on a border wall continue.